Thursday
Mar222012

Bike belt from my old Kenda small block

So yesterday, I decided to finish up the spring maintenance on my MTB, and I swapped on a new set of tires.  The old ones were pretty spent but I hung on to the front as a spare.  The rear had a huge gash in the side wall, so it was junk.  Instead of tossing it though, I figured I'd make a belt out of it.  Turns out I had a spare buckle back from when I was making a few paracord belts:

So I had the buckle, and the belt material, so all I had to do was pick up some fasteners.  Turns out there is a fabric store right next to the bike shop, so I grabbed my new tires and slime, and then picked up these fasteners for a few bucks:

 

These are easy to fasten, as you just hammer them into place.  Great for me, as I didn't want to buy some tool to fasten buttons (although I'm thinking of getting something like that).  Anyway, I just cut off the side walls of the tire, and then took it inside to wash all the Stan's out of it:

I let the tire soak a bit, then used a wash rag and rubbed all the Stan's out.  This was the hardest part of the job by far, but didn't take much more than moderate elbow grease.  Next, I cut a hole for the buckle with my exacto knife:

After that, I just attached the buckle:

 

Before I hammered the two fasteners through, I cut a piece of rubber out of the old side wall to use as a retaining strap on the belt.  I wrapped that around the front of the belt, and sandwiched it between the folded rubber holding the buckle.  Then I hammered the fasteners through.  The buttons end up behind the retaining loop:

The last thing I did was cut the belt to length, round the end, and poke the holes.  I marked the holes at the same distance as one of the belts I wear a lot and knew fit well.  Then I just cut an "X" at each mark, and ran a round file through each hole.  I did cut extra material out with my xacto knife too.

The finished product:

I've been wearing it for a day or so now, and it fits perfectly, and keeps my pants up.  Pretty sweet way to upcyle.

 

- Rob

 

Sunday
Mar182012

Ski decent of Quandary Peak

This weekend I completed my first ski decent of one of the 14ers in Colorado.  I did a trip report that contains a bunch of pictures and a log of the days events, but what I want to talk about now is the emotions I felt when I completed the trip.  First let me start by saying if you've never hiked a 14er, and you get a chance you should.  Even the easiest of the mountains is challenging, and you'll get to see some awesome views when you get to the top.  It's this challenge that brings me back to these mountains over and over, not only looking for the summit, but looking for the summit in the winter.  

For the last few years, I've been really wanting to start backcountry skiing.  There was always some anxiety about the dangers, but living in fear just isn't how I roll.  For one reason or another, I hadn't taken the steps to really start getting out from under the lift.  That all changed a few months ago when I took a weekend avalanche course and got my first taste of the freedom of backcountry skiing.  There were no ropes to tell me where I could and couldn't go, no lift lines, no >$100 lift tickets...it was grand I tell ya!  Since then I've done a few trips with my buddy Jeremiah, and one with a buddy I met at the avy class.

Next on my list was to hike/skin up a 14er and ski down.  This steps up the game quite a bit, as the snow conditions are tricky, the decent is tricky, and there is a long hard hike before you get to ski down.  We hit the trail head by 4am and were back at the truck by 11:30.  We got some great views in, got to watch the sun come up while at >13k feet, and got some sweet turns in on the way back down.  It was a great day, and the since of accomplishment I felt is something I'll be riding high on until the next decent.

Just about 6 months ago to the day, I went through a breakup that I took very hard.  It really made me question what I was doing with my life.  Had I just wasted 5 years of my life?  What had I done wrong?  I had a lot of doubt about the things I was doing, and what my end game for this life is.  At first I decided to just put my head down and try to move on without being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I worked out 5 days a week, and I tried to stay busy in the evenings.  This mostly worked, but I had lost some motivation to do the things I love.  I didn't want to ride the mighty Katoom, or pedal my single speed until my legs were numb.  All I wanted to do was stair at the ceiling.

Slowly but surely, I started to come around.  I met an awesome woman, I started checking off ski resorts I wanted to go to, I started messing with shit at home in the evenings, I got on a great workout schedule with a buddy, and I started really working hard on my tele skiing.  Over the last few months, I've had a ton of fun, and I'm now in the best shape I've been in, in some time.  I'm eating healthy, and I'm really feeling good about things.  I guess the culmination of that was this weekend when I got up at 1am to go climb a mountain so I could watch the sunrise and ski down.  It feels good enough to tell people about it, so there you go.

- Rob

Wednesday
Mar142012

Custom molded ear buds

I saw on the internet somewhere some time back a tutorial where someone used some Radians custom molded earplugs to make some molded ear buds.  Anyway, here's how mine turned out:

I decided to make them because my ear buds hurt my ears after wearing them for any more than an hour (which I do all the time when I travel).  Anyway, I've worn them for over an hour once so far, and they are totally comfortable.  Cool thing is, I can pop the ear buds out pretty easily, and could probably switch in a nicer set of buds without a problem.  It's worth doing IMO.

P.S. My life is back on the strait and narrow after a few rough months were I didn't want to do anything, so expect me to be blogging and writing code, and doing a ton of more projects this summer.  Next up is making some carbon fiber shiznit for my KTM.

- Rob

 

Tuesday
Aug092011

Nuvinator

If you're like me, you have a Nuvi 500/550.  If you're like me further still, you've tried to take a track file that someone created on one of their rides, load it on to your Nuvi and then follow the track only to realize that the Nuvi doesn't handle track files.  "No sweat, you probably told yourself, I'll just convert this to a route and then load it on...."....WTF, the Nuvi can only handle routes with up to 200ish points in it? Damn this track file has like 5000 points...

What I've been doing with tracks that I create on Google maps is breaking them into separate files by hand and then using gpsbabel to convert them to routes and then simplify them.  This works great, and I just load 3 or 4 route files for a given track and follow them.  It works surprisingly well, but it takes some time to get the route files created.  Because I got tired of doing it by hand, today I decided to write a perl script to do it.  I call it nuvinator.pl.

All you do is feed the script your full blown track file, and optionally give it a number of routes to be created, and it will make route files each with 200 route points (that's as many as I could get my Nuvi to load).  I just wrote it today, and have only tried it on a few track files, but her is the output from a 7k point track file converted to two routes:

Track:

 

Route:

 

Here are the requirements to run the file:

1. Perl

2. gpsbabel

3. The perl script relies on XML::Simple and Getopt::Long, so you may need to install them.  On Linux it's just sudo cpan XML::Simple Getop::Long.  If you're using Activestate on Windows, I think it has these installed, but if not, check out the command line utility ppm.

 

You can download the script here: nuvinator.pl

I've only run the script on Windows, but it should run just fine on Linux/Mac.  If you don't have gpsbabel in your path, make sure to edit the script and set the $gpsbabel to the path of your gpsbabel executable.

 

I hope this helps a lot of people, because it makes it dead simple to convert tracks to Nuvi ready routes.

 

--Rob

Friday
Dec032010

Windows Binaries for QT Canon

A while back I compiled some Windows binaries for my QT Canon application.  I did a couple of videos with it, but I sold my DSLR before I got to play too much with it.  Until I get a new camera SLR, the QT Canon project is on hold (mainly because I don't have a camera to test with).  At any rate, I figured I'd put the binaries so that others could play around with it.  There are bugs in the app, and this is beta at best, but feel free to download and make some cool time lapse videos.  All you have to do is download the zip file and then extract it some where.  Then plug your camera in, turn it on, and then fire up the application.  On Linux, the app will find your camera even if you start the app before you plug the camera in.  This is not the case on Windows though.  You must plug in your camera, turn it on, and then start the app.  From there you just set up a few things and start shooting.  Have fun!

Download for Windows (XP/Vista/7): QT Canon

I recommend turning off the auto focus when shooting time lapse.  Otherwise the camera has a tendency to "hunt for focus" between shots, and this can produce a jerky video when stitched back together.  Kind of like this one I made with my Canon Rebel: